The decision as to whether a parent will stay at home is made with great consideration. However, it is not the only question that will need some pondering! Transitioning to being a stay-at-home parent is a game-changer. To put it more realistically, it’s a game where the rules change daily and sometimes the parent may feel like they are not even at the right ballpark. Being a stay-at-home parent is challenging yet rewarding and maybe what you have decided is best for your family.
If you are considering transitioning to being a stay-at-home parent, here are a few things to think about.
How will we balance the household duties when my partner is home? This is a doozy and the answer looks different for each family. Managing the household duties and caring for children can not fall solely on the parent staying at home. This is simply unrealistic. When deciding to stay at home, go into the discussion looking for the best way to balance things when both parents are home. Who does what, when, and how?
What if I determine this is not the right fit? You are in luck. The decision to stay at home is not permanent and you get to change your mind. If you try and decide its not for you, then you can try something else. Know you will need time to adjust to staying at home, especially if you are transitioning from a full-time job. Grant yourself some grace to try and explore your options. What works best for one family may not be what is best for you and your family.
How will I decompress? Staying at home with the kiddos can be absolutely daunting. You will want a break at times. That’s a given. Come up with ways you like to relax and decompress. Let your partner know that you will need the time and support to step back and take a breather – even if it’s just for a few minutes.
What will this mean for my career or employment options? You know how you work hard in school and your job for it all to come to a grinding halt when you decide to stay at home or at least it can feel this way. You will watch others advance in their careers while you vacuum up ground up Goldfish crackers in the carpet. You have to be okay with that. Be confident in your decision to stay at home. This is where you have decided to focus your time, energy and talent and that’s awesome, too!
How can I keep my partner engaged with family decisions? It is an easy slide for the stay-at-home parent to be the primary caregiver. They are the ones shuffling kids to doctor’s appointments, filling out school paperwork, and hustling to activities. Work with your partner to determine how they would like to updated and communicated with on important matters. Give them the opportunity to participate and be engaged with family happenings.
What are my backup options? With 100% certainty, you will get sick, have an appointment, or just want to do something alone. Identify what will happen if you are unable to care for the kids. Who is available to help, including your partner?
What are my personal goals during this time of my life? It can be easy to lose yourself when you are in the trenches of raising children. The days become a blur, times goes fast and also so slow, and you get caught up in doing so much for children who are dependent on you for so much. But what about you – what do you want to accomplish during this time of your life? Before you decide to stay at home, write down some goals, short and long term, that you can focus on solely for you. These years you will watch your children grow, don’t stop growing yourself.
What is my partner’s vision for this family arrangement? What you think it might be like to have one parent stay at home and what it actually looks are vastly different. No two days are ever the same for a stay-at-home parent. Work with your partner to determine the goals of this time, balancing the workload, and then layering on a whole bunch of grace. What matters the most for the family while one parent stays at home?
And, lastly, when do we need to revisit this decision? After having another baby, kids starting school, a shift in income, or new opportunities may all be signals to reevaluate your family care arrangement. Incorporate these triggers in your decision-making process to continue to make sure this is in line with the needs and desires of each member of the family.
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